Youtubers today cannot be ignored due to their ability to market themselves- they are becoming celebrities just by posting videos of their everyday lives online. American youtube personalities like Jenna Marbles, Michele Phan, Bethany Mota, Blair and Elle Fowler are entering mainstream media and pulling in 6 and close to 7 figures per year in youtube advertising revenue. They are known for their quirky videos and sharing their personal stories on the internet, but most of all- building their brand. In truth, the revenue not only comes from Youtube, but selling personally branded items on the side, such as Jenna Marbles’ plush dogs to resemble her two dogs in real life, Michele Phan’s Ipsy online store subscription service, or Elle and Blair’s store Glitzyglam. But in reality, the marketing machine behind Youtubers in other countries like the UK is much bigger. The highest subscribed user on Youtube Pewdiepie or Felix Kjellberg, has over 32 million subscribers, just because he plays video games and posts videos of himself playing and commenting in real time. Other users like Zoella, Alfie, and Sprinkleofglitter, easily pull in six figures with their book releases and branded items like Beauty lines. How do they garner so many fans when most people over 35 don’t even use Youtube?
Jenna Marbles, who loves poking fun at everyone and everything
Beauty guru Zoella with her new book
Youtubers are powerful marketers because of one thing: realism or the appearance of it. Even if everything is filmed on a soundstage, the perception that these are genuine people expressing their own opinions is very appealing to most viewers. Most Youtubers also collaborate and support each other, purposely marketing other users on their own channels to boost views. The superstars with books aren’t to be taken lightly either- Zoella’s new book “Girl Online” is set to be the top seller on the UK booklist with a sequel already in the works. These Youtube stars are pulling in large amounts of money for Youtube and Google targeting 13-22 year old women watching youtube for anything from Beauty tips to how-to videos for decorating their dorm rooms or apartments. Viewers also enjoy living vicariously through users as they “daily vlog” their lives, vacations, and any manager-sponsored trips that they take to destinations ranging from the Mediterranean in France, Walt Disney World in Florida during the annual Playlist Live Convention to Dubai to promote a new collaborate multiple-user channel on Youtube. The key to their popularity is building and maintaining their immense online presence, and viewers continue to watch videos that remind them with hard work anyone can reach their level of fame.
These Youtube users are prime advertisers for big companies like Pantene, L’Oreal, Unilever and other personal hygiene and beauty products. Some worry that they are treading a fine line, and now more regulations have come out in relation to advertising– users need to make an obvious disclaimer on their videos when it is sponsored by a company or when they are being paid to endorse and support a product. Recently, some Youtubers were in trouble in the UK for filming games or discussions centering around Oreo, but didn’t outright say that they had been paid to promote the brand.
A new study claims that the top youtube brands have gone from posting a dozen videos per month in 2005 to thousands in one month in 2014. These videos have been responsible for over 9 billion views, which means that viewers are seeing any advertisements played before these videos. The Youtube users themselves mainly make money from Adsense’s Ad revenue, and they make even more when a viewer watching one of the ads before their videos clicks on the ad. However, sometimes this can backfire if Google thinks a fan or a user is inflating their revenue and views by clicking on an advertisement too many times.
I think that however you feel about Youtube, the users that are very popular are definitely moving into mainstream media, and online companies like Youtube are going to be the advertising venues of the future all around the world. When it is becoming increasingly easier for Youtube stars to have cameras follow them around, they are going to continue to make money from sponsorships from daily brands that want to be seen by these Youtuber’s viewers. What do you think? Is it worth it to invest in using youtubers as advertisers and promoters?